Best way to cure some plum trunk slabs

Folks,
Pictured at this URL are a couple of slabs bisected from a trunk of an old non-producing red plum tree (dimensions are roughly 30"L X 12"W). They are still sitting as pictured in our moist OR climate and have been for about a week. A local woodworker is willing to cut them into boards (we're guessing about 1.5" thick) for curing, but he is not absolutely sure this is the optimal approach. The plan would be to dip the ends in wax and sticker them in my attic. Opinions please?
- Casey
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Doh! Never post when you are already late for a meeting.... Forgot the URL. It's a large d/l if you are on a slow connection:
http://www.tomochka.com/files/stuff4sale/plum_slab1.jpg
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Ooooh ! This is a tricky one. i know what you have. if when you mean red cherry the flowers are red and as you cut it the wood oxidised to all colours of the rainbow then this is called a 'cherry plum'. The colours are superb but in 25 years of air drying timber i have never successfully seasoned large pieces. What you have left in between all the splits are wonderful slices for jewellery, i have sold many broaches and earrings. OK so this sounds too dreadful so to give you a slight chance keep the slabs in the coolest dampest, no airflow place you can find and cover with sacks, carpets so it remains humid with small sticks in between to stop rot, layed on pallets is OK. Try that but in a few years if they have cracked try the jewelry, with a Danish oil finish. Colours will be yellow, orange purple.
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David,
But, what is best, to store as you suggest 1. the slabs as they are, or 2. to first cut into "boards"? I would think it's best to keep them whole and rip them later, or perhaps that has other risk associated. Thanks for your help!
- Casey
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You've got a real challenge. Plum and the other fruit woods will crack just at the sound of a starting chainsaw.
I'm thinking your 1.5" is way too thick to allow the wood to move as it dries. Since it's so sensitive to the drying stresses I'd hazard a guess that thinner is much better than thicker.
That's not a huge piece of wood by furniture-making standpoints, so it looks likely to be destined for smallish (i.e. thinner material required) items. It's beautiful by the way - wish it was in my yard. Perhaps think about sawing it into 3/4" or maybe even 5/8" or 1/2" thicknesses. It will likely warp, twist and cup a fair bit but that would be a good thing compared to cracking due to being too thick.
Your attic is much too hot and dry for this wood. Put it either outside on the north (shady) side of a building or put it in your basement away from heaters, vents and any breezy air movement, then wax the ends, sticker, cover with a tarp if left outside, sheets of newspaper if left inside and pray to the woodworking gods.
--
Owen Lowe and his Fly-by-Night Copper Company
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I've had a lot of experience with trying to make plumwood into lumber.
First you have to use a preservative. I tried without it and it cracked so quickly (even outside) it became worthless. The second time I wiped on a bunch of pentacryl (from woodcraft) and got almost no cracking.
It still warps pretty bad (both directions!). I think next time I will apply a LOT of pressure to try to prevent this. I've cut the dryed boards into 3" strips which I should be able to glue back together. Its real pretty stuff! Good luck with it. Be sure to get the pentacryl on quick or it won't help.
Jacob
Fly-by-Night CC wrote:

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By the way. I'm in Oregon too. in west portland. You're welcome to come by and see what it looks like.
Jacob
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Just as followup, I got the slabs sawn up about a week ago and applied Pentacryl (to my relief, a non-toxic substance) heavily as well as Green End Seal to all the pieces. The thickness varies widely from about 3/4" to 2", so we'll see what happens. I have it all stickered and stored outside covered and in a shady area. Probably should put more weight on it, but haven't yet. Let's all get together in two years and see how the experiment turns out! =%^)
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Just checked to see how this was going on. Do not mix plum with cherry plum. Plum is a lot easier.
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